Birth to 6 months
The routine examination of the newborn and subsequent contacts between parents and health professionals offer opportunities not only to assess the infant's health and identify any abnormalities, but also to support and advise the parents in a variety of ways. Parents who have experienced routine newborn care delivered by doctors and by nurses sometimes seem to prefer the latter, not because nurses examine the baby with greater expertise, but because parents appreciate their more holistic approach. The parent(s)' attitude to their baby, their circumstances and their mental state impact in many ways on the infant's development. Occasionally a parent may suspect that something is wrong before it is obvious to any professional, because they sense that the infant's responses and behavioural patterns are not normal. Parents may ask about the normal frequency of bowel movements. Common concerns include feeding and weight gain, parental mental health problems, and understanding the blood spot screening test.